Linn introduced me to the legend that is Jimmy Wang Yu. My eyes were open to the glorious Shaw Brothers films and right in time for their catalogue of movies being brought out in all their fabulous glory on DVD by Celestial. It was The One Armed Swordsman starring Jimmy Wang Yu that had me asking Linn all about his movies and also seeking further information about the great array of Shaw Brothers films. It was a great day for me, and an opportunity to pay Linn back, when in Japan the as then never properly released film The One Armed Boxer (1971) was released in a very limited run by Spike Dragon on to DVD. I picked up two editions, one for myself and one for Linn. When I sent one of the DVD's to Linn he was ecstatic, not just at receiving the movie, but in telling me that the release was now no longer available.
No sooner had the film hit the shiny format than it had completely sold out. We now were the proud owners of an extremely rare release. I will never forget the feeling of shared pleasure that time gave us, a real high point and one I could not have shared with anyone more deserving than Linn.
The Man From Hong Kong
Fight choreographer and cameo role player Sammo Hung is an Asian go between for a drug cartel, kangarooing between Hong Kong and Sydney Australia peddling narcotics. Opening with a coach trip exploring the vast Australian landscape Sammo’s character is along for the journey, replete with Connair travel bag he’s there to put the money back in the box. Hard cash is his return package in exchange for snow white wares, but this is no Disney production as Director of infamous exploitation flick Turkey Shoot Brian Trenchard-Smith is at the helm.
News of the Asian officers arrival spreads fast and with Sammo Hung’s character now a liability it is not long before Jimmy Wang Yu is given a reason to extend his stay. He is soon leaping acrobatically around the streets of Sydney chasing after a hit man, visibly pulling off many of his own physical stunts with amazing aplomb. Jumping over and in front of moving vehicles and delivering an amazing high kick from a running start to the midriff of the motorcycle riding escapee. So consummate is Wang Yu in this role he later even gets to parallel park a sliding car to an impressive breaking stop. The chase culminates with a stand off fighting sequence starting in the kitchen of a restaurant, furiously playing out as a real crowd pleasing exchange of fury. The two men battle it out in frantic fashion , blow for blow and making full use of every available implement that comes to hand. All manner of knives, cleavers, metal hooks and a broken bottle are put to use in a brutal display of vicious intent as much blood is spilt. A deadly dish of its day and still a pick from the menu of today as the recipe hereon in is Action all the way.
Under the insidious front of an import export dealership George Lazenby is head honcho Jack Wilton, living from immoral means yet still a lean and mean fighting machine not fat from his pickings. He unwinds in his exclusive martial arts school within his private condo, showing off his own karate skills and looking supremely fit long since leaving Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Lazenby’s bad guy persona is a convincing one played with an assured arrogant strut that gives great credence to his eventual clash with Jimmy Wang Yu. Their hand to hand fight is another highly watch able moment within the film, be it all too brief yet flagrantly beefed up by the tag team presence of Lazenby’s professional hired help.
The movie is an Action roller coaster of stunt, fight and explosive entertainment value throughout its duration running time. Constant fisticuffs often employing all manner of weaponry that includes swords, spears, nunchakus and very sharp looking blades, make for a remarkably bloody outing. Even a fight atop a descending elevator goes down extremely well !. Include a stand out car chase late in the movie that is very much of Mad Max proportions and you’ll get a real feel for the Toecutter in this hair raising escapade.
Jimmy Wang Yu is a one man ‘Wrecking Fu’ and George Lazenby gets to throw everything he can at him right up to the inevitable final explosive showdown. Imagine The Man With The Golden Gun put in the mix with Enter The Dragon and given a Castlemaine Four ‘X’ Rating !. For a movie that pulls plenty of Action out of its pouch this is one highly enjoyable Australian made ‘Kanga Fu’ flick.
Review Paul Cooke / Source Australian Region 4 DVD
The Man From Hong Kong (1975)
Directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith & Jimmy Wang Yu
With Jimmy Wang Yu, George Lazenby, Peter Armstrong,
Rebecca Gilling, Hugh Keays-Byrne & Sammo Hung